Cream Cheese Streusel Bars
With an oh-so-chocolaty crust, a crisp topping and soft cream cheese filling, these delectable bars are over-the-top indulgent. Maybe too indulgent. Writes Janet Coops of Duarte, California, “I was given this recipe at a Christmas party. Everyone likes it, but it’s really rich. Please make it lighter.”
After just one bite, our makeover team knew that this one would be tough. They wanted to keep the smoothness found in the filling. But they also wanted to cut calories and fat—especially the saturated fat, which came in high at 12 grams per serving.
First, they focused on the topping and crust and cut the amount of butter in half, which drastically reduced the amount of saturated fat. To make up for the butter lost, the team had to readjust the amounts of other ingredients to make sure there wasn’t a loss of crispness or chocolate flavor.
Next, they tackled the filling. They easily substituted reduced-fat cream cheese and fat-free sweetened condensed milk for their full-fat counterparts, but when they put the topping on the uncooked filling, it sank. To remedy this problem, they baked the filling until partially set, then added the topping.
The resulting Makeover Cream Cheese Streusel Bars are magnificent. With all the original's indulgence but half the fat and almost a third less calories, this is one divine dessert.
Because dessert batters made with reduced-fat ingredients can be less dense, consider par- baking them before adding garnishes or toppings.
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